Stevie Wright, former lead singer of The Easybeats, reportedly died yesterday, Sunday December 27, at the Moruya Hospital in New South Wales. The news was first reported on the website Noise11 and confirmed on Perth radio station 6PR via a Twitter entry from rock historian Glenn A. Baker.
Wright, who had battled health issues for decades, had just celebrated his 68th birthday on December 20.
Wright first came to prominence as the lively, diminutive lead singer for The Easybeats, a band formed in 1964 at the Villawood Migrant Hostel that went onto conquer the pop world. Wright had migrated to Australia with his family when he was nine and while at Villawood met Harry Vanda and Dick Diamonde (from the Netherlands), George Young (from Scotland) and ‘Snowy’ Fleet (also from England).
The Easybeats’ 1966 single ‘Friday On My Mind’ was an international hit reaching No. 1 in Australia, No. 6 in United Kingdom, as well as the Top 10 in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and the Top 20 in United States in 1967. The song was voted Best Australian Song of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in 2001 while David Bowie covered it on his 1973 covers album, Pinups. The Easybeats were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Easybeats broke up in 1969 after four Top 10 albums and 8 Top 10 singles in Australia; however, Wright went on to pursue a solo career that was highly successful, especially in the ’70s when he enjoyed a No.1 hit single with the epic ‘Evie (parts 1,2&3)’, (written by Vanda and Young) and the subsequent No.2 album Hard Road. Wright also starred in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972.